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I work in an American infrastructure firm based in India. We work on both American and Indian projects. My Indian client works on Saturday while our company does not. Because of the clients, I also have to work on Saturdays sometimes, even though I am not willing to work on Saturdays.

However, my manager prevents me from putting the Saturday work on the time sheet. He says we cannot show Saturday work to our US offices (US office manages all the finance and administration) and cannot charge it to the time sheet since it will affect the project profits.

Our office does have an overtime policy. The manager has never talked about this to us. Which implies that he is not going to allow us to charge the overtime.

Here I have two options:

  1. Either ask him a compensatory day off on weekday for working on Saturday (There's no provision for compensatory day off in our office rules, but he can give a comp off unofficially)

  2. Convince him to let me charge the Saturday on the timesheet.

What are the advantages and drawbacks of these options?

  • 24
    @Xander "I also have to work on Saturdays sometimes though I am not willing to work on Saturdays" It seems that the manager is forcing OP to work on Saturday but without reporting the time spent. – Valrog Apr 1 at 8:45
  • 3
    I started work "on the clock" so you were paid according to the clock hours late was late etc Also, will you be covered by work insurance if working Saturday is not recognized? – Solar Mike Apr 1 at 8:49
  • Are you actually working in US or in India? I see that answers assume you work in US, but the question tag is "India". – virolino Apr 1 at 12:58
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    "cannot charge it to the time sheet since it will affect the project profits." Did he really said that? You have to work on Saturday for free because it would kill profitability? Nice business model. This is pretty much definition of a sweat shop... Or I have misunderstood something. I understand everything along time zone-differences, flexible schedule vs administrative burden, but citing lack of profitability due to worked hours is flat out wage theft. Unbelievable. – luk32 Apr 1 at 14:34
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    This sounds kind of fishy. Are you sure your supervisor isn't having your violate corporate rules? It kind of sounds like it. – bob Apr 1 at 19:10
171

You're missing the obvious third option:

  1. Stop working on Saturdays

It's clear you're not allowed to work on Saturdays so you should stop doing it. If your manager tries to force you anyway you kindly respond with:

Of course I would work on Saturday if you need me to, as long as I can officially enter those hours in my time-sheet and receive the proper compensation.

If the client asks you to work on a Saturday you try to professionally explain why you will not.

Sorry for the inconvenience but Saturday isn't an official workday in the US and I'm no longer allowed to put in overtime in the weekend. I'll come back to you first thing Monday morning. If the issue cannot wait till Monday please contact [manager] to find a solution.

kind regards,
chrono

  • 20
    +1 for the extra option. Although very direct, this is the method I would suggest if you've already tried to ask about working Saturdays and your boss has said you can't do that due to US offices then you should just stop working. If it burns bridges then it's your bosses problem – Twyxz Apr 1 at 8:01
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    Good reply but I would definitely not tell the client about the inner workings of the company and indirectly expose my manager, who in the end of the day is following company policy while the OP isn't. Just limit the reply to: "The company is closed on Saturdays, I'll get back to you Monday. For urgent matters, contact [manager] [email]." – Xander Apr 1 at 8:25
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    @Xander Situational. I wrote it this way because OP was already working on saterdays so now stating "the office is closed on Saterdays" could be confusing. Note that nowhere in that response I'm blaming manager. I'm only offering to contact the manager to find a solution (for example: perhaps HE can work overtime on saterday to solve the issue). – Imus Apr 1 at 8:40
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    @Xander from the sound of it, it seems the manager is NOT following company policy. That's just based on my doubt that company policy would demand something so obviously illegal though, nothing concrete. – user87779 Apr 1 at 19:47
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    Never, ever, work off the clock. That time is often not covered by insurance, and can be disavowed by your company as reckless behaviour. Don't respond to emails on the weekend, don't work for free. Your time in clearly valuable to both you, and the company. Respect yourself. – Malisbad Apr 2 at 5:51
43

As you mention it, it sounds like your manager is stopping you from making fair usage of the company policy. It's bad.

Reach out to the HR, immediately. This is a malpractice that needs to stop. Simply put, your manager is asking you to work for free to show up the profit in the balance sheet. That's unfair and not correct.

As you mentioned, your manager already mentioned about the "profit" and did not inform you to use the overtime policy - it's understood that he is not doing this by mistake, this is a deliberate attempt.

Detail the situation in writing to HR. Mention the nature of the work request and ask what alternative could be arranged to see that you are properly compensated.

Either ask him a compensatory off on weekday for working on Saturday (There's no provision for compensatory off in our office rules, but he can give a comp off unoficially)

I'd not take that path. If something is not in the rulebook, don't use it. It may or may not be honored, if the current arrangement changes.

  • Also, if it's you who asks for it, you can be in a tricky situation in case there's a problem later on.
  • In case it's your manager proposing this out-of-the-book arrangement, it's less problematic for you, but given that the process is still outside company policy, in case of any conflicts, you'll lose all the comp-offs or similar.

Convince him to let me charge the Saturday in timesheet.

You already tried that and received a refusal - it's very less likely that the answer will change on a second request. Better use the proper channel.

Moreover,

He says we cannot show Saturday work to our US offices (US office manages all the finance and administration) and cannot charge it to the time sheet since it will affect the project profits

That clearly indicates, your manager is incapable of managing. It's your managers (one of the many) responsibility to take care of the interests of the employees' working with them, not try to take advantage. In case you see this to be a company-wide policy (or,location-based malpractice), rather than a one-off case with your project / manager, it's time to find a new job.

In the end, if your time is not honored, it's not worth the time and effort.

  • 1
    This is dangerous advice politically speaking. Going over the manager's head like that may work but is also likely to cause a lot of grief. – Tim B Apr 1 at 10:04
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    @TimB OK, and stealing the effort from one is not dangerous? In case this is a practice, and a known pattern, I would not think twice to burn all the bridges. Seriously, you don't honor my time, you don't honor me. – Sourav Ghosh Apr 1 at 10:07
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    @TimB since the manager goes over the company's head by assertively sneaking 53 extra unpaid work days per year into his profits sheet I don't see how it is out of line with the culture he is fomenting. The grief started the moment he decided to do this and I can only see it getting worse if nobody stands up. – lucasgcb Apr 1 at 10:44
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    I agree that the manager is out of order. I'm just warning that following this advice means walking into a mine field. The OP needs to go into that with their eyes open. – Tim B Apr 1 at 10:59
  • I'd add to this that if there is an agreement reached that the OP will get comp-time for working on Saturdays, then get the agreement in writing. If it's not in writing, then the OP could experience a situation later where they are disciplined or dismissed for missing work during the week. – Makyen Apr 1 at 18:11
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He says we cannot show Saturday work to our US offices (US office manages all the finance and administration) and cannot charge it to the time sheet since it will affect the project profits.

You cannot charge for your work because it will affect the project profits? With that kind of argument he can stop paying you altogether and, should that not make the project profitable, demand that you pony up what is missing. If company and/or manager failed to account for the project's costs due to different working conditions in U.S. and India, that is not your problem. It is your manager's problem to account and budget for it and make sure ends meet or design a mitigation strategy (which might involve offering overtime payment for additional work/hours required from you) and/or pull the plug. That's why he is getting a manager's pay and job, and you are getting a worker's pay and job.

He is trying to get credit for not doing his job and stealing work hours from you. This is a matter for escalation: first to HR. If that doesn't help, the department of labor. Your manager will likely be willing to throw you under the bus (making you work without pay definitely does not show that he has your interest in mind), so be prepared for retaliation and document everything. You don't know how much he is backed by HR in his attempt of exploitation, so make sure your resume is up to date. At the latest when escalation to HR does not result in immediate changes, you also might want to secure the services of a lawyer before considering further steps.

5

A small addition to the excellent other answers: in some countries, though maybe not in India, there is still another, more sneaky option: document your time at work (there is software that lets you track your logon and logoff times on your computer; if you use source control commit times may also be useful) and then sue them at some point for your overtime pay. E.g. after changing to your next job.

In my experience there is a strong correlation between not properly paying employees and other forms of disrespect, so you might want to find a different job anyway.

P.S. If you want to simply stop working on Saturdays as suggested in answer #1, it might be worth finding something that keeps you from coming to the office. E.g. older family members need your time, younger family members need to be brought to saturday school, your bicycle/soccer/charity club only meets on saturdays, you have booked a language course that takes place on saturdays etc.

  • IANAL, but if you want to sue a company over forced unpaid overtime, you need first and foremost prove that you were forced to do it. Source control timestamps prove that the OP worked on a Saturday, but don't attest whose idea that was. – Dmitry Grigoryev Apr 2 at 12:06
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    Where I live, you only have to prove that you were on your workplace and were not paid for your time :) – Jan Apr 2 at 12:12
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    There is a soft limit above which the courts will assume that your salary covers overtime, but that is way above what ordinary software developers earn here. 100000 USD p.a. or so. – Jan Apr 2 at 12:18
  • What prevents you from voluntarily doing some minor work (e.g. writing e-mails) on a Saturday, then suing your company for unpaid overtime? – Dmitry Grigoryev Apr 2 at 12:21
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    Generally the assumption is that if the employee is at his workplace and the employer is not telling him to leave, the employer has to pay. Probably because experience has shown that there are more employers wjo screw their employees than the other way round. – Jan Apr 2 at 13:07
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He says we cannot show Saturday work to our US offices (US office manages all the finance and administration)

And? I (and my whole team) just worked Saturday and Sunday for my current position (a US government contractor that does not normally operate on the weekends) in order to crunch for a deadline (and I'll be paid for it). Your manager's statement here is meaningless.

and cannot charge it to the time sheet since it will affect the project profits.

Obviously hours you work and don't charge for will affect the profit differently than hours you work and DO charge for. This is a meaningless excuse ("if the company pays you, the company will have less money!" Well, duh, that's how a financial transaction works). Either the project isn't budgeted properly, your manager is trying to get free work out of you (and possibly has a financial incentive himself to get you to do so; eg. if they are paid by percentage of profit), or something else is going on (say, your company is about to run out of money and go bankrupt, so scam all the employees for every hour possible).

You should be paid for your hours, regardless of when they occur. It isn't "overtime" until the law says its overtime (usually the total number of hours in a week but I am not familiar with how India operates), not the days of the week (usually), or the time of day (though nightshift work tends to pay a higher base wage).

If you have a lot of unpaid hours racked up at this point (pretty much "more than 0" but the more you have, the higher the incentive) you should contact a lawyer or other agency that deals in abusive work practices and report your company for not paying you for hours worked.

And oh yeah.

Find a new job.

0

As well as the other aspects that have been mentioned it should be pointed out that this is likely to be regarded as fraud. I used to work for an american company although based in the UK and they were constant reminders that our time sheets were reflected in the company balance sheet and therefore it was imperative that they were accurate and honest. There was even guidance about how to escalate if anyone asked you to do work that wasn't to be reflected on your timesheet. Might be worth looking at your policies to see if there is anything similar.

0

While the top voted answer is absolutely correct and right thing to do, knowing how things work in India (not everywhere but at the companies where "bosses" match the description you gave), I just do not think it will work in your case.

1) You can leave the job as others have rightly described it as 'malpractice' or 'sweat-shop'. There are plenty of other companies in India where ethical standards are very high.

2) If leaving is not an option for you right now, just go with your second option. Unofficially ask for a compensatory off on weekdays and live with it if it is granted. This may actually work well for you but do note that this unofficial leave may also require him to fudge the numbers somewhere. (As in show your work on Saturday as work done on weekday). You need to decide how comfortable you are with this and take a call.

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